Quick thoughts on the Hoyas up-tempo and decisive 67-51 road win over St. John's ...
Funny what a little pace can do. Not content to play a walk-it-up style, Georgetown consistently pushed the ball from start to finish and at least for one game (or one half) put its offensive woes aside. Despite playing without suspended forward Greg Whittington, the game was never in doubt after a 20-2 first half run as gave Georgetown a 33-10 lead.
With Georgetown reeling and shorthanded, Otto Porter turned in an All-American level performance and received help from both expected and unexpected sources. The Hoyas (11-3 1-2 Big East) led 36-19 at halftime, by as many as 26 points and and avoided their first 0-3 start in conference play since the 1999-200 season.
When Georgetown's half court sets bog down, there tends to be too much side-to-side perimeter passing which leads to having the shot clock as an enemy. None of that existed against the Red Storm, particularly in the first half. That's not to say every play was a fast break, but there was constant push and purpose. Georgetown wants to run, but would stood out about this effort was that the Hoyas were the ones dictating the tempo, not simply going with the flow.
By my unofficial count the Hoyas did not take a single shot before halftime with the shot clock under 10 seconds (Only one possession did the clock dip into single digits and that ended in a St. John's foul). Nearly all their scores came inside the first 15 seconds of a possession, if not sooner.
The Hoyas did all that and held a rare and dominating 48-31 rebounding advantage despite playing without Wittington, their second-leading scorer and rebounder. The program announced before the game that the sophomore forward would sit out due to a violation of team rules. Georgetown has not announced if the suspension is beyond the one-game. Jabril Trawick replaced Whittington in the starting lineup.
Porter finished with 19 points and a season-high 14 rebounds, nearly generating a double-double in the first half alone. His putback with 6:31 left capped the decisive early run and gave Porter 12 points. At that moment St. John's had 10 and trailed by 23. Constantly on the attack, the sophomore forward took a season-high 12 free throws, making nine.
Markel Starks (17 points) and Nate Lubick (11) helped carry the scoring load. Starks knocked down shot after shot including two of Georgetown's three 3-pointers. Lubick flashed his low post moves with two sweeping left-handed hooks and tacked on six rebounds, three assists and two blocks.
Seven different Hoyas scored and without Wittington, Thompson gave more run to freshman D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera and seldom-used reserve Aaron Bowen. The 6-foot-3 Smith-Rivera snatched a career-best 10 rebounds to go along with eight points and four rebounds. Bowen made only the third 3-pointer of his career and the junior finished with five points.
Not all was perfect offensively. Mikael Hopkins remained in a funk, finishing with one point before fouling out. The Hoyas shot 43.1 percent from the field and racked up turnovers, with most of the misses and miscues coming during the second half. Compared to the previous two Big East games, both of which ended with Georgetown scoring under 50 points, nobody is complaining.
Up next: The Hoyas are back in action on Wednesday, hosting Providence College. Georgetown has won seven straight over the Friars.